Peach - history, production, trade
Peach, whose scientific name is Prunus Persica, is the fruit of peach tree: it is a botanical category which includes, as well as peaches, other fruits with stones, such as apricots, cherries, plums and almonds.
Peach is typical drupe, an indehiscent fruit in which there is a thin external part (exocarp or skin), a fleshy central part (mesocarp or flesh) and a hardened ligneous internal part (ligneous endocarp or stone), which contains only one bone seed.
The peach is a round fruit, divided by a longitudinal ridge, covered by a thin velvet skin.
Peaches are juicy and sugary, more or less acid, with an aromatic and sweet flesh, that can be white, yellow or red, a thin skin, velvet or smooth whose colour ranges from yellow, to red pink, salmon pink, with a hard stone that contains an almond (seed) that can be adherent (clingstones) or non adherent (freestones) to the flesh of the peach.
Peaches, like any other type of quality fresh fruit, must be firm to the touch, but not too hard and it must not have any bruise or soft parts; moreover, the skin colour must be bright.
Thanks to its qualities, its juiciness and its refreshing capacity (with 85% of water and cytric acid), the peach is one of the par excellence fruits of Summer, consumed above all as fresh fruit, but also as main ingredient for the processing of peaches assigned to industry (such as syrups, peach jam, “percoche” clingstone peach jam, peach liqueurs or flavouring for drinks). Recently, peaches have had a great success also in cosmetics, for visage, body and hair beauty treatments.
With about 28 cal/100 gr. peaches are revitalizing fruits, with a very good content of vitamin A and C; they are diuretic and laxative fruits, because they have a depurative action for the organism and enhance the functionalities of the intestine and of kidneys.
Peaches are tolerable fruits for the stomach and, for this reason, they are recommended also in diets of people with alterations in the digestive functions. Furthermore, as they are free from gluten, peaches are suitable also for people suffering from celiac disease.
Peaches are depurative for the organism, they regulate the alkalinity of blood and stimulate the gastric secretions; they are excellent also against rheumatism, arthritis and nephritis; however, it is necessary to pay attention as there can be, in predisponed people, above all in children, some allergic reactions.
Leaves, flowers and the almond in the stone of the peach contain a poisonous chemical substance that gives off hydrocyanic acid: therefore they must absolutely not be eaten.
The peach is largely used and eaten like fresh fruit: thanks to the many varieties of peaches available on the national and international fruit and vegetable market.